The Need for Speed franchise is reversing back to the studio that it used to be based at, with the publishers at EA deciding to rejig which developers are working on the iconic racing series. The Sweden-based Ghost Games developed last year’s Need for Speed Heat game, but they won’t be returning to work on the next entry in the franchise.
Instead, the UK-based team from Criterion Games will be stepping back into the fold to take custody of the Need for Speed series. Criterion previously developed numerous installments in the franchise, starting with 2010’s Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. The last game in the series that Criterion worked on was Need for Speed: Rivals, which they actually co-developed with Ghost Games. That was the last game before Ghost Games took the wheel.
The reason why EA is now gear-shifting control of the franchise back to Criterion in the UK is actually quite a positive one: they want to use the Swedish team from Ghost Games on other projects. EA will be rebranding Ghost Games as EA Gothenburg, which is actually a moniker the studio has held before, and putting them to work on various projects.
EA announced this news through GamesIndustry.biz, sharing this statement: “The engineering expertise in our Gothenburg team, some of whom are architects of the Frostbite engine, is vital to a number of our ongoing projects, and they would remain in that location.” The outlet notes that, pending approval from the business-based authorities in Sweden, the newly-rebranded EA Gothenburg “will refocus itself as an engineering hub supporting development across EA’s portfolio.”
The EA spokesperson quotes by GamesIndustry.biz also notes that, “Outside of the engineers and those that we plan to transfer to other positions, there would be 30 additional staff in Gothenburg, and we would hope to place as many of them as possible into other roles in the company.” Here’s hoping that nobody has to go through redundancy or a painful relocation because of this business move from EA.
Criterion will be the developers getting the next Need for Speed game over the finish line, then, not that we know yet what that game will be exactly. The launch of Need for Speed Heat was only a few months ago, so it could be a little while until the next entry is formally announced. Either way, we’ll be sure to keep you posted with all the big news coming out of EA.